Buyer Beware! Advice when buying real estate in Greece

Dropping land prices as Greeks desperately sell their property to make ends meet, signal investment opportunities for foreign buyers. But before rushing to purchase coveted Greek real estate, here are some tips to keep in mind:

* Know all the characteristics that determine the value of the land. Is the land you are considering to buy free of any type of legal burden or legal dispute? Ensure you know what the actual boundaries are. What about the zone? Make sure it isn’t registered in a forestry region or archeology zone that can be reclaimed by the government. Does the property size on the contract reflect the actual size of the land?

* The plot buyer must hire a lawyer for a thorough title search. The lawyer needs to review deeds, titles and plot plans and search the local land registry/cadastre. The lawyer will advise the client as to whether to buy the land or not and will outline some of the risk factors that have to do with uncertainty concerning the title history or whether there are archeological restriction.

* Apart from a lawyer it is advisable to hire a civil engineer to ensure that the building regulations of the plot are legal and if the owner is allowed to build on the plot or not. The engineer will tell you how big a structure you can erect and how many floors. Some areas require certain archeological styles to be adhered to.

* Oftentimes the developer or seller offers to provide a lawyer and civil engineer. It is best to work with an independent professional so as to avoid a conflict of interests.

* Meet with neighbors so as to be aware of possible problems in the area or development plans.

* The buyer won’t be the owner of the property until the purchase deed is registered with the land registry. Furthermore, the buyer is burdened with notary expenses.

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